How did companies handle the fast migration of consumers in the digital environment

The first six months of this year were more transformative and unpredictable than the last two years in terms of digital adoption. Unfortunately, this can also be the first one of economic instability. As discouraging as this sounds, there's still enough room for courage and playfulness in a way that we can benefit from in the long term. 

 

Looking at the 2019 data, internet penetration in Romania was 80%. 41% of consumers already use search engines to find information about brands. With the massive migration in digital, amid the state of emergency, there’s no doubt that these numbers have increased. As a result, the demand for digital content was at historical levels as well. 

Considering this, businesses didn’t always match the pace in which things were happening.  The ones that had much to gain, including market share, were the ones that embraced fast decisions and flexibility as part of the norm. 

Business perspective

In the end, 2020 was more of an opportunity for businesses that were already transformation oriented. There was a starting point when long-term digitization goals became, overnight, short-term goals. Those who accelerated their existing plans, reconfigured budgets, and encouraged quick decisions had much to win. The same applies to companies that had no plan but understood that adapting is important. They considered changing in their business model, but not before testing and analyzing their results. They were fast but calculated.

For the digital agencies and marketing specialists, any acceleration of this digital trend is good news. At Grapefruit, we could observe how the demand for digital services had increased. From the first weeks of the isolation period, we had requests for digital marketing and software development services.

 

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Unfortunately, there are also enough examples of businesses that considered migrating only for a limited time. They are the ones that will return to the offline comfort zone as soon as things get back to the old ways. This can be a trap, considering that all this transformation will affect the long term whether we want it or not. We don’t know how much they will lose in this process, but we know for sure that they will not have much to gain either, in the long run. 

Consumer perspective

Some consumers have always been shy embracing any use of digital until forced by circumstances, they had no other choice. In this context, the role of many businesses was to reassure them that things can work as well as they did before. And, in some cases, to educate them into using digital channels more. 

Others have embraced a more tech-oriented lifestyle, which made them feel insecure in the past. For example: paying only by card, shopping online more often. Or they embraced other social media channels and explored new forms of content, with an emphasis on video content. 

According to a report published by Sensor Tower – TikTok, the social networking platform that delivers exclusively video content, recorded in Q1 2020, 315 million downloads. This is a historical record per quarter, for an app. In Romania, now we have over 2 million users (compared to February 2019 when we had over 170k).

 

Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

There are two directions in which most digital plans will develop. The first refers to increasing the volume of business through digital adoption. The second to applying recession focused strategies. Romanians will be more reluctant to buy products or services, amid an economic crisis. For example, people may choose long-term investments or maintenance services over other high-end products. And in situations like this, we reach again the need for a flexible mentality and quick decisions. 

 

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